I have had the privilege of watching Assemblyman and gubernatorial candidate Kevin Kiley step onto a larger stage and campaign to replace Gavin Newsom as Governor of California. From the first big campaign event at an airport hanger in Riverside, to one last small event at Park Social Neighborhood Cafe in San Diego, I have watched Kiley do what even Governor Gavin Newsom has admitted he only did for the first time for this recall: travel the State of California by automobile. Oh, there were times he flew to a particular region because he had to make a quick return to the State Capitol to do his job in the Assembly. But for the most part, his team were road warriors, and from what they expressed to me, enjoyed every moment of it.
While Kiley is very social media and media savvy, he chose to actually go out and meet the people face to face, in order to win their trust and their vote. Through three debates, and several townhall Q&As, Kiley explained policy in a way that even a fifth-grader could understand. Unlike his fellow candidates, he explained what his policies would be as California governor in a way that citizens could understand.
That has been the hallmark of his candidacy: Connection to the actual grassroots and their concerns. Connection to the people who made this Recall happen. Connection to voters and what animates them to select a particular candidate. Kiley did not make his focus voting blocs; he made his focus actual Californians.
Will that win him the governorship? It remains to be seen. But what I saw in the few events where I was able to observe and report is that people are hungry for something real, even in politics, and even in the sometimes empty artifice that is California. Kiley not only created a real connection, he backed it up with real policy.
Kevin Kiley may be an anachronism and a throwback to a bygone era. Where hard work and earning people’s trust and vote mattered. Where integrity, character, and generosity of spirit were your calling cards, not oily urbanity, blustering bravado, or the cult of celebrity.
It’s been a pivotal time, and as Main Recall Proponent Orrin Heatlie said, we have made history.
Whatever the outcome of this history-making Recall election, Kiley as throwback, is making a comeback—and not a moment too soon. Kiley was the one candidate who embodied integrity, character, and a generous spirit, throughout the 10 weeks of the campaign. Along with the strength, knowledge, experience, and fortitude to lead a movement.
Kiley inspired Baby Boomers, Gen X, all the way down to Gen Z to become engaged and informed about what occurs in their state. And once equipped, to go out and make a difference.
In July, RedState’s California editors and contributors endorsed Kevin Kiley’s candidacy. Editor Kira Davis wrote:
On July 6th, Kiley announced his candidacy to replace Gavin Newsom and while he may not have national name recognition at this point, he is most definitely the most qualified – and yes, inspiring – candidate in the field.
The name recognition part has definitely changed over the past 10 weeks; the rest, has not. If anything, the qualifications and inspirational leader has been amplified and solidified. Is Kiley the man for this moment? Perhaps, and we will see what the voters decide fairly soon. What I am confident about is that he is the man for this time in history, when we need a return to true self-governance, we need to be the ones who root out corruption in government, and we need to be the people who change the world, by changing our world; the space of the neighborhoods, the cities, and the states in which we live. If the difference is made in those realms, then the national picture almost takes care of itself.
In July, when the Recall made it to an election, and candidates were lining up, our Managing Editor Jennifer Van Laar wrote:
This election is about what Gavin Newsom has done to this state over the last 10 years and, in particular, the last two years, without remorse, and without concern for the lives destroyed. This election is about helping our friends and family and neighbors who are frustrated about the surge in crime, the unscientific lockdowns, the destroyed businesses, and the continuing surge in homelessness and its attendant societal effects fully understand that it is Gavin Newsom’s policies that led to this.
I am still confident that a Governor Kevin Kiley can be the one to partner with us to change the trajectory of our state. Kiley was instrumental in the launch of this Recall movement, and it will not be stopped, stamped out, or defeated, no matter what the outcome of the actual Recall election.
Whatever happens tomorrow…
I’m so proud of everyone who made the Recall a reality.
You have built a true movement. You’ve shown what politics at its best can be. You’ve given us hope for California’s future.
Whatever happens tomorrow, we’re just getting started.
— Kevin Kiley (@KevinKileyCA) September 13, 2021
Orrin Heatlie, Mike Netter, and the millions of citizens who sparked, led, and saw the Recall movement come to the fruition of this day backed the right horse; and here at RedState, so did we.